Turkey’s tourism earnings down by 40 percent in first quarter

Turkey’s tourism revenues slid by 40% annually in the first quarter of 2021 as per the official Turkish Statistical Institute data. The number of people visiting Turkey in the first quarter fell by an annual 54 % to 2.6 million, the institute said.

Earnings fell to USD2.45 billion from USD 4.1 billion in January-March 2020 which is also down comoared to USD 3.91 billion tourism income earnerd in 4Q20.

The resurgance of COVID-19 pandemic in Europa and in TUrkey at a time of slow vaccination progress will keep hurting Turkey’s tourism poerformance.  Last year TUrkey’s tourism income fell by 67% to USD12 billion in yoy terms.  In January, Tourism Minister had predicted a highly suspicious V-shaped recovery for the sector as he had cliamed the government aimed to double visitor numbers to 31 million this year and attract USD 23.3 billion.

The performance means that tourism sector is among the worst affected by the COVID-10 pandemic. The sector companies owed TL 136.4 billion (USD 16.5 billion) at the end of 2020 to banks which corresponds to an increase of 43% yoy. Employment in the sector has dropped by an annual 19% to 1.38 million people.

The lower tourism income also puts pressure on the value of the TL as the financing of the current account deficit of USD 30  billion  estimated for end 2021 will have to depend on an increased level of net foreign trade.